Craft beer firm Innis & Gunn serves plans to build Edinburgh brewery

Sharp says the new facility will provide the brewing, packaging and warehousing capacity needed. Picture: contributed.
Sharp says the new facility will provide the brewing, packaging and warehousing capacity needed. Picture: contributed.
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Craft brewer Innis & Gunn has announced plans to build a large-scale brewery in Edinburgh – creating up to 30 jobs – to meet soaring domestic and global demand for its lager, and to support its aim of nearly doubling turnover to £40 million by 2021.

It also said the facility will be the first large brewery to be built in the capital for more than 150 years.

The proposed site is “strongly preferred to be in the Edinburgh area”, subject to the outcome of planning applications. Innis & Gunn’s core range of craft lager, IPAs and barrel-aged beers would be produced at the new brewery, which would have a capacity of 400,000 hectolitres.

It comes after Tennent’s said yesterday that as of September 2020 it will stop providing brewing and packaging services for Innis & Gunn at its Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, an arrangement that has been in place since 2014.

The existing Innis & Gunn Brewery in Perthshire, which the firm took on when it bought Inveralmond Brewery in 2016, would continue to brew Inveralmond’s range of cask and bottled ales, which following a rebrand is seeing volume growth of 7 per cent in the last 12 months, and focus on small-scale experimentation and limited edition barrel-aged beers.

Investment in the construction of a new brewery will also include high-speed canning, bottling and kegging capability, and streamline several outsourced brewing and packaging sites to one single location.

Revealing the news to shareholders at the company’s AGM in Glasgow, founder and master brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp said: “Building a new brewery will cement our Edinburgh heritage as well as creating a focal point for our beers in the capital. It provides the brewing, packaging and warehousing capacity we need as we continue to strive to meet the surging demand for our lager, which is on track to be the number one craft lager in the UK, IPA’s and barrel aged beers at home and around the world.

“For me putting the brewery in Edinburgh, where we first brewed Innis & Gunn, feels like we have come home as a business.

“There will be a taproom and visitor facilities for people who would like to come for a tour and a beer, and we are planning a line-up of events like beer and food festivals.

“Our new brewery will be the beating heart of our vibrant craft beer business and I can’t wait to open the doors and show our fans around.”

The plan to build a new brewery comes as Innis & Gunn celebrates its 15th anniversary, with a limited-edition barrel-aged beer called 15 launched earlier this year to mark the occasion, and following a “transformational” year that saw turnover grow by 22 per cent to £22.4m.

However, the company swung to a pre-tax loss of £388,000 from a profit of £331,000 as it invested in the business, including injecting more than £1m into developing its brewery.